Waaaay back in 2008, a few Master Gardeners decided they wanted to actually garden, and would do so with the idea of both growing food to give away, and to demonstrate techniques. They received permission to use the site between Greenhouse 5 and the parking lot at the Green Thumb property.
With a small amount of “seed” money, they built about 1400 square feet of raised beds, and in 2009 planted the first crops. In 2010, they increased the area under cultivation by another 700 Square feet, bringing the garden roughly to the size it is today. The group agreed to sublet tpart of Greenhouse 5 from PSU.
The Demo Garden program prospered, attracting a few interns from each annual Master Gardener training class. New techniques for raised bed construction were tried (demonstrated), and growing techniques also demonstrated. One especially successful method was the Square Foot Garden, managed according to the book of the same name by Mel Bartholomew. This 24 square foot bed has produced over 100 pounds of food per year, year after year. Overall, the demo garden donates an average of 2000 pounds of food each year.
The “demonstration” part of our name was held back because the school limited the people at the site when students were there. Still, things went smoothly until 2015, when PPS announced a very substantial rent increase. This triggered a process of looking for another place to garden,. We were fortunate in finding a large area in the same Green Thumb area that was managed by Portland Parks and Recreation. After considerable negotiation with PP&R, we were granted the right to build a garden there, and it has been called the Annex.
The money problems with Greenhouse 5 resolved themselves, but by then we were firmly committed to developing the Annex, a place where we can demonstrate both vegetable and ornamental gardening techniques, and where the classes and workshops we want to present will be welcomed by Portland Parks and Recreation. We continue to work in both gardens, enjoying the perhaps five minute walk between them.
More about the Demo Garden
There are a number of documents that provide more details about our demonstration garden, ranging from history, to policies, to production records. There is written orientation to the garden detailing what is expected of volunteers and how they can best help. Follow these links to further information and downloadable files.
- DG Orientation
- Mission Statement
- Food handling
- Planning meeting explanation
- Budget info
- Images - mostly drawings